Washington Equestrian Monument
On 3 February 1858 the Senate voted on a bill to appropriate additional
money for an equestrian statue of George Washington.
Washington's neoclassical memorial stands 60 feet tall. Virginia Historical Society
After George Washington died in 1799, various groups lobbied to have his remains moved from Mount
Vernon to a more public location. In 1816 the Virginia General Assembly suggested moving the remains
of both George and Martha Washington to a proposed monument near the state capitol in Richmond.
Washington's family blocked the attempt, and the plans for the monument stalled. A committee formed
by the Virginia Historical Society urged the legislature to revive the plans, and the General Assembly
authorized a committee to hold a national competition for the Virginia Washington Monument. An
American sculptor, Thomas Crawford, won the commission.
Crawford worked on the statue for seven years and arranged to have it cast in Munich, Germany.
The completed statue arrived by ship from Germany, and the bronze figure was hauled by wagon from
lower Main Street to the capitol grounds by thousands of Richmonders. The plans for the monument
called for the granite base to be surrounded by six smaller statues of prominent Virginians. Crawford
died a year before the unveiling, and only the statues of Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson had been
completed in time for the formal unveiling ceremony on Washington's birthday, 1858. Randolph Rogers
completed the work, and statues honoring Andrew Lewis, Thomas Nelson, George Mason, and John
Marshall were added.
Crawford's neoclassical memorial stands 60 feet tall and is one of Richmond's most notable
monuments to one of the nation's greatest heroes.
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